This local librarian competed on ‘Jeopardy!’: Who is Julie Hornick?

  • Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Monica Kreber/Journal Scene Alex Trebek gets to know the three “Jeopardy!” contestants for a few minutes during the show. Julie Hornick is the center contestant.

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Clue: “Middle class protections, despair, you want ‘em you got ‘em in this Chekhov play that debuted in 1901.”

The answer: “What is ‘The Three Sisters’?”

Maybe not all “Jeopardy!” fans had heard of that Chekov piece but a Dorchester District Two employee did last week, and answering the question correctly suddenly made her $800 richer.

If local viewers tuned in to watch “Jeopardy!” on March 12 they might have seen a familiar face among the competing panelists.

The woman in the middle was Julie Hornick, a media specialist at River Oaks Middle School.

The famous game show is known for its quiz-like structure, with contestants giving their answers in the form of a question and earning money for each right answer – or losing money for wrong answers. The show is also known for its host Alex Trebek, who has been on the show since 1984.

“Jeopardy!” consists of three rounds in the game – Jeopardy, Double Jeopardy and Final Jeopardy.

On Wednesday night’s show Hornick was up against “Jeopardy!” returning champion Arthur Chu, as well as contestant Diana Peloquin of Ann Arbor, Mich. Chu had reigned on the show for 12 days and was unseated by Peloquin, who won with $15,700.

However, Hornick did not go down without a fight, answering questions that covered material from television networks, to theater, medical terminology and Italian adjectives.

Trebek got to know his game contests a little bit, and revealed to viewers that this is not Hornick’s first time on a game show; she has also been on “Weakest Link.”

“I actually ended up winning, despite not knowing how many quarters are in $1.50,” she joked on the set.

Hornick had $7,800 going into the last round, during which she incorrectly responded to the Final Jeopardy clue: “He was the last male monarch who had not previously been Prince of Wales.”

Hornick guessed George V, wagering $5,100. The correct answer was George VI and Peloquin was the only contestant to get it right. Hornick’s second place winnings totaled $2,000.

Hornick said getting on the show was a lengthy process: to be a contestant on “Jeopardy!” she first had to take an online test, which is offered every January. A certain score lands prospective contestants with an in-person audition, followed by participation in a practice game, which is filmed. Then Hornick had to take a written test and have a brief interview.

All of this was done in 2013. The show was filmed a week before Thanksgiving 2013 in Los Angeles. It was Hornick’s third attempt to get on the show.

Hornick said she has always had a love for trivia and has been an avid fan of “Jeopardy!” since the 1980s.

“’Jeopardy!’ is kind of the king of game shows,” she said. “I thought, why not try it?”

Participating contestants are not allowed to be on the show again – unless they earn the chance to participate in the tournament. Hornick said she would have liked to have earned more money than she did, but still enjoyed the experience.

“Trebek was a really nice guy,” she said. “It was a lot of fun.”

Hornick said a lot of her answers were educated guesses. Prior to competing she brushed up on a lot of memorization to prepare.

Despite not winning Hornick does take some pride in beating Chu, the third-best player in “Jeopardy!” history.

With her winnings Hornick said she is paying off some of her travelling expenses for the show and might invest in new furniture.

She said she might like to try “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” next.

“If something presents itself I don’t see any reason not to try for it,” she said. “It was a long-term dream of mine to stand on the ‘Jeopardy!’ stage.”

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